BTO has a long history of working on migrants, from the first use of bird rings to look at the movements of birds. Our current work on long-distance migratory species covers two complementary approaches:
- the deployment of new tracking devices to understand the ecology, movements and non-breeding locations of individuals from breeding populations, many of which are declining
- analyses of long-term monitoring data, including from bespoke surveys, the Ringing and Nest Record Schemes, to identify drivers of population change
BirdTrack migration blog – early spring
It may still feel like winter but for some species, the increasing temperatures and lengthening days have already kick-started spring migration, with birds starting to arrive and depart across...
Understanding seabird behaviour at sea part 2: improved estimates of collision risk model parameters
Strategic study of collision risk for birds on migration and further development of the stochastic collision risk modelling tool (Work Package 1: Strategic review of birds on migration in Scottish waters)
Astounding Short-eared Owl movements revealed
International research led by BTO has revealed that Short-eared Owls make astonishing nomadic migrations between nest sites as far apart as Scotland and Arctic Russia.
BirdTrack migration blog (winter 2023/24)
Winter is often regarded as the season when nature sleeps - but the cold months can be an excellent time for birding.
Climate change and migratory species: a review of impacts, conservation actions, indicators and ecosystem services.
Part 1 documents a review of literature which was carried out to identify the impacts of climate change on each group of migratory species listed on CMS Appendix I and Appendix II. A range of...
BirdTrack migration blog (end of October to mid November)
Even as we reach the beginning of November, autumn migration is still very evident. Birds continue to arrive in the UK from more northerly regions to spend the next few months here in our warmer...
Arctic Skua migration: stories from the field
Where do Arctic Skuas go when they are not in Scotland? Helen and David Aiton take us through their fieldwork seasons for BTO’s Arctic Skua tracking project, which has followed these fascinating...
Combining remote sensing and tracking data to quantify species’ cumulative exposure to anthropogenic change
The results showed that although the actual amount of change had been greatest on the breeding grounds, cumulative exposure to changes in direct mortality risk and climate were...
BirdTrack migration blog (22–28 September)
The speed of migration has picked up as the end of September draws near, with a mix of extremely rare species and more common migrants being seen in recent days. There are still a few weeks until...
BirdTrack migration blog (15–21 September)
Now we are moving into mid September, BirdTrack reporting rates have increased for many passage migrants and winter visitors. This is especially true for several duck and wader species, which come to...
BirdTrack migration blog (8–14 September)
As the high pressure that began the previous week continued to build and remain in charge, the weather stayed fine, dry, and hot for most parts of Britain and Ireland. These settled conditions...
BirdTrack migration blog (25–31 August)
The previous week undoubtedly showed that autumn migration is well underway, and that you don’t necessarily need to travel to a prime migration site to experience it.
BirdTrack migration blog (18–24 August)
With relatively settled conditions for many parts of the country last week, the focus for many birdwatchers remained on the sea off the south-west coast.
Lasso Penalisation identifies consistent trends over time in landscape and climate factors influencing the wintering distribution of the Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)
BirdTrack migration blog (11–17 August)
The pace of migration in late summer is greatly reduced compared to the spring, but that doesn’t mean birds aren’t on the move. Late summer has a habit of producing some very rare species, and...
Flight Paths: the story of bird migration science
Science writer Rebecca Heisman tells us how she came to write her first book, Flight Paths, and why it’s vital that we tell the stories of the birds around us.
Can Cuckoos adapt their clocks to climate change?
Cuckoos aren’t returning to the UK earlier, even as spring advances – but why? BTO research reveals new insights into the timing of this species’ migratory cycle.
West African stopover determines timing of Cuckoo arrival
The authors use 11 years of satellite tracking data from 87 male Cuckoos, tagged at 11 sites across the UK, to examine variation in migratory timing throughout the annual cycle and its potential...
2023’s Cuckoos are tagged and ready to go
BTO has fitted 10 more Cuckoos with satellite tags, allowing scientists and the general public to follow these incredible birds on their annual migration.
BirdTrack migration blog (late May–mid June)
As spring progresses towards summer, migration continues to slow. Most breeding species will be either in the full throws of breeding or close to their breeding grounds.
BirdTrack migration blog (19–25 May)
A week of relatively settled conditions enabled a steady stream of late migrants to arrive, and allowed an occasional scarce species to make landfall.
BirdTrack migration blog (14–20 April)
The mixed bag of weather over the last week brought a few nice surprises and a steady trickle of migrants.
BirdTrack migration blog (28 April–4 May)
As expected, the mixed bag of weather over the last week resulted in a trickle rather than a flow of birds arriving.
BirdTrack migration blog (21–27 April)
A week of sunshine, rain and blustery easterly winds kept the pace of migration relatively slow given the time of year.
BirdTrack migration blog (7–13 April)
During the last week, spring migration has stepped up a gear with species such as Nightingale, Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler, and Cuckoo making their first appearance of 2023.
BirdTrack migration blog (31 March–6 April)
A change in wind direction over the past week coupled with some prolonged and often heavy bursts of rain slowed migration – but some birds still made it through.